Content, content, content.
As a marketer, you feel this word being drilled into the back of your skull. You know this is one of the main ingredients when it comes to connecting with your audience.
But how do you get started when you’re young into the industry, with not much experience in writing and planning your brand’s content?
It can be a daunting feeling when you’re unsure of your skills. Personally, I’ve worked as a marketer for a magazine for a few years – written a few press releases and business proposals, as well as my dissertation. But nothing like an actual feature or blog post.
Beginning work at an agency, a completely different field to what I’ve been used to – one where I knew one of the main tasks was to develop a strong and consistent content strategy. How that can leave you a bit fearful!
But with a bit of motivation and a lot of dedication, you can create a strategy that not only boosts your businesses content; but also your writing skills as well. In this series, we’ll be exploring the steps that go into creating a remarkable and consistent content marketing strategy.
But first, what actually is content marketing?
“Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”
Content Marketing Institute
Auditing your Brand
In order to begin your content strategy, you’ll first need to know everything about your brand. Following these steps will allow you to begin your plan with a solid foundation knowledge of your business and audiences.
Who is your brand and what do you stand for?
Understand what it is that you’re offering; your brand’s core values; your unique selling points and how you’re different from your competitors.
Your company will need to understand their branding strategy through-and-through. If you don’t already have this in place, develop a style guide to be shared across your whole team, and then be rigid and monitor this constantly.
Style guidelines include:
Tone & Voice
Design Elements (white space, logos, banners, etc.)
Messaging: What are our key messages; how do we use these; and what’s our value proposition?
Make sure your whole team knows how you operate, your value proposition, and how your audiences interact with you. Your value proposition is one of the most important factors in a marketing plan, as it will guide how you position your brand and you can benchmark any activities against this.
Value Proposition includes:
What you do
How you do it
What makes you different from competitors
Deep understanding of customer needs and wants
How does your business address this?
Who are you speaking to?
Create a buyer’s persona which outlines who they are; what their job role is; their main concerns and frustrations; interests and needs; and where they are on the buying stage.
For each audience type you need to know:
What their typical day is like
Pain points, Issues and Triggers
And objections they may have to your business
The more you can target your content so it’s answering each of your audience’s needs, the more they will visit your brand for these type of answers. This way you can position yourself as a thought leader in your sector.
Your team should have each buyer’s persona in their minds whether you’re engaging with them or creating content. Each time you utilise some sort of marketing tactic, you should always know how you answer your audience’s needs.
Audit your previous content
There is no such thing as a quick audit, just the same as there’s no shortcut for brilliant content marketing. It takes time to understand and the more you get to know your brand, the better you’ll be able to make valid recommendations towards an exceptional content marketing strategy.
The best way to get to know your brand and key themes is to audit any content which has already been created. There are many ways you can split your audit up, and depending on the type of content your business publishes, some of this may not have been considered.
Here’s a list below which details everything you can benchmark your content against:
Then you’ll need to define a grading system which supports this; one that’s personal for your business and then use it for each page you’re about to audit. One of the best ways is to use a traditional letter grade method such as A, B and C.
A would represent a page which is perfect and doesn’t need any revisions or new content. B graded pages need just the slightest amount of editing and then C pages require a fair bit more attention.
Make sure to then benchmark against your competitors content. Finding out how they’re operating and what types of content they’re producing is extremely beneficial to your strategy. It can provide you with innovative ideas, the realisation that you need to improve, or you may realise your content is actually doing really well and so you need to keep a close eye on those competitors.
Also, use Google Analytics for a greater insight into how your website pages are performing. It can give you an unbelievable insight into your content and how your audiences have reacted, providing you with strong data to back up your strategy.
As you can see, we’ve only really touched upon the introduction of content marketing. There’s so much more to learn, such as how to plan your content, distribute and pitch it and developing your writing skills.
Over the next few weeks we’ll delve deeper into this topic and by the end of the series, you’ll have a strong content marketing strategy in place and already be delivering fantastic content to your audiences.
Note: Learn how your content fits in with Inbound Marketing